I brought my 14 year old gelding to a clinic recently for an exam after a particularly violent stumble after a pole the other day. This has happened two other times, starting in May 2020 - a stride after a 3’ jump and in November 2020 a stride after a 2’6” jump. The first one we wrote of as a freak thing - slightly slick footing, just something bizarre that didn’t happen again and he didn’t exhibit any other symptoms or odd behavior until he started swapping off the right lead constantly on the flat.
I had the vet out and injected hocks and then stifles after it didn’t resolve. It slowly became better but arised every once in a while. He had no issues until August 2020 when he became uncharacteristically spooky. I had the vet out and she pulled vitamin E and selenium levels which were normal. He slowly just went back to his normal self.
After he stumbled hard (both times to his knees) a stride after the jump again in November, I had the vet out again and determined he was foot sore and had mild navicular in his front right. She did a neuro exam each time she was out and never found anything. Changed shoes and that seemed to have solved the problem. He was feeling amazing under saddle, coming out of his stall and immediately moving and jumping like a 10. I thought the problem was solved until last week when it happened again over a pole and it became clear this had become a habit that was NOT resolved and very dangerous.
I took him to the clinic and the vet was suspicious for neuro after the in-hand exam and after showing no acute lameness during the lameness exam with flexions. I have scheduled him to see Dr. Amy Johnson at New Bolton which I have heard amazing things about but it is not for another few weeks. The vet tossed around EPM, Lymes, EDM and spinal compression. She obviously advised me to not ride him which I absolutely was not planning to do.
I have not known any neuro horses so this is all new to me so forgive me. From my research, EDM is typically really only diagnosed in older horses, correct? I just don’t know, nothing seems to match perfectly but I guess nothing is textbook when it comes to these things. I know only a specialist and further testing can offer me answers but I’m just heartbroken at the thought of retiring him or something worse. I lost my 7 year old gelding just three years ago tragically and I am trying not to jump to conclusions but also prepare myself that there is a possibility that he will never be safe to ride.
Any insight is welcome. Thank you for reading.